Rysheed Jordan chooses St. John’s over Temple

Rysheed Jordan, a five-star basketball recruit from Vaux High School, indicated he would be committing to St. John’s on Thursday morning, choosing the Red Storm over Temple and UCLA.

At approximately 10 a.m., Jordan Tweeted, “IM A JOHNNIE!!!!!! #ichoosestjohns” Jordan’s decision is only a verbal commitment; he’s not eligible to sign a letter of intent until April 17.

Jordan averaged 26 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds per game in his senior season at Vaux. He scored 32 points in Vaux’s 83-63 win against Johnsonburg in the PIAA Class A championship game.

Coach Fran Dunphy, who heavily recruited Jordan, was in attendance at that state championship game. NCAA rules prevent Dunphy from talking about recruits who haven’t signed a letter of intent, so Dunphy couldn’t be reached for comment after Jordan announced.

Women’s basketball signs three recruits

The Owls signed three players for the class of 2017, and more are expected in the coming months.

Temple’s early focus in recruiting appears to be in the low post, with two centers signed.

Six-feet, four-inch Taylor Robinson hails from St. Louis, Miss., and played for Midwest Elite AAU. She wasn’t eligible in the fall semester for her high school team because of grades but has since rejoined the lineup.

Fayetteville, Ga., native Safiya Martin also stands at 6 feet, 4 inches and was a member of the Georgia Pearls AAU squad.

The Owls also signed Feyonda Fitzgerald, a 5 feet, 7 inches guard from Norfolk, Va. She averaged 16.9 points, six rebounds and four assists for the Lake Taylor Titans, according to 757Teamz.com. She also played for Boo Williams AAU.

The presence of two freshmen centers indicates coach Tonya Cardoza will likely have an open competition to replace senior Victoria Macaulay after her graduation following this season. There are no other centers on the current roster, and nobody listed taller than six feet, one inch.

Temple is still recruiting for the class, but cannot comment on later commits until they have signed their letter of intent.

-Jake Adams

Horton no longer with women’s basketball

Freshman forward Leah Horton has been told she won’t be rejoining the women’s basketball team this season, coach Tonya Cardoza confirmed Wednesday.

Cardoza said Horton’s conditioning and lackadaisical work ethic are the primary reasons why she will no longer be practicing or traveling with the Owls for the foreseeable future.

Horton played in three games this season, a transition year for the Owls in which five other freshmen have seen significant playing time. Horton last played on Dec. 6 against Kent State. She played a career high 18 minutes against Seton Hall on Nov. 14, recording three points and five rebounds.

While she is no longer welcome back this season, Cardoza said she has not ruled out the possibility of Horton returning to the team next fall.

Tyler Sablich

Free throw shooting an asset for women’s basketball

It doesn’t get talked about nearly enough but free throw shooting is a valuable factor in any team’s success (or lack thereof).

Temple, through all its ups and downs this season, has been fairly consistent in this department.

During the Atlantic 10 Conference season the Owls are shooting 73.2 percent from the stripe, converting 60 of their 82 attempts. That ranks fifth in the conference behind Fordham, Saint Joseph’s, La Salle and St. Bonaventure.

Two Owls also grace the Top 15 in that category. Sophomore guard Tyonna Williams is third in the conference with 91.3 percent on 23 attempts while senior center Victoria Macaulay has converted 81.5 percent of her 27 freebies.

Macaulay’s numbers show just how much she’s improved in that department. Last season she made just 64 percent of her free throws during conference play and 67.7 percent overall.

Williams and Macaulay’s success in that department has been part of the reason their scoring numbers are as high as they are.

But while the duo has combined for 50 freebies this A-10 season, the team only has 82. That’s third lowest in the conference. Temple just doesn’t force teams to foul them.

With that kind of success at the line the team should figure out more ways to get fouled and convert those easy opportunities.

Jake Adams

Tournament hopes dim with improved conference

This season with the influx in Atlantic 10 Conference teams in Butler and Virginia Commonwealth University, the conference tournament adds four new teams this season.

In past years the Owls had to be one of the top eight teams in the A-10 to dance in the postseason. This season the Owls have to be 12th or better.

Currently Temple is in ninth as they get set to take on Massachusetts, which is 13th. As the season is shaping up the Owls need to stay to as close to .500 as possible to ensure a middle seed.

With a win, Temple will make sure that four teams have one win or fewer in the conference, providing a comfortable cushion as they try and build a winning streak and head into the postseason with momentum.

If they can’t get a head of steam going at least the Owls have some extra room to play with this season.

-Jake Adams

Phil Martelli praises Khalif Wyatt

St. Joseph’s University coach Phil Martelli had some kind words for senior guard Khalif Wyatt following the men’s basketball team’s 70-69 loss on Saturday night.

Martelli called Wyatt courageous, and explained the difference between Wyatt and other players as his willingness to take difficult shots.

Here’s a full transcription of what he said:

“The way that Khalif has grown in their program is a testimony to him and a testimony to Dunph and his staff. He just plays like a lot of you guys play. If you play three-on-three, that’s what he’s doing. He plays a three-on-three game as much as he can. He flails around and deserves a lot of credit for the way that he plays the game. There is a certain talent and he has that talent. He scores the basketball. If I’m looking at both of our teams, the difference is they have a guy that can get 30, we don’t have anybody that can do that, because we don’t have a confidence level and we’re not making shots. He’s a shot maker. The shot the other night against Richmond, that’s almost silly. He shot fakes and goes off one foot and makes a three, tied 61-61. Here’s what people don’t understand about that: It’s courage. He has to live with the fact that he could miss that shot. That’s what shot makers do. They are willing to take the consequences of make or miss.”

-Joey Cranney

Alban wins ECAC honor, third straight for gymnastics

Women’s gymnastics has now had gymnasts win Eastern Collegiate
Athletic Conference awards in every week of the young season. The
latest to receive a weekly honor is senior Jean Alban, who was awarded
the ECAC Gymnast of the Week, along with University of Pennsylvania
senior Dana Bonincontri.

Alban was not even in the vault line-up for coach Aaron Murphy to
start the day during the Owls most recent meet at University of New
Hampshire last Saturday. But when teammate Natali Ruzich had to be
pulled, Alban came in as an alternate and stepped up to the challenge,
posting a score of 9.425 on the apparatus.

With the entrance into vault, Alban ended up competing in four events
for the day. Marking the first time she has done so since her freshman
year, when she was the 2010 ECAC Rookie of the Year.

After vault, Alban nailed her routine on bars scoring a 9.475. Then,
Alban’s performances on beam (9.600) and in the floor exercise (9.650)
were crucial, as they helped the Owls secure second place in both
events. She ended the day with a career-high all-around score of
38.150, good enough for second place in the competition.

Alban and the Owls will look toward their only home meet of the
season, this Saturday at the main gymnasium of Pearson-McGonigle at 1

-Samuel Matthews

Marbach academically ineligible, out for season

Freshman forward Jayson Marbach will be sidelined for the remainder of the spring semester due to academic eligibility, coach Jerry Roberts confirmed Wednesday.

The American Collegiate Hockey Association requires each player to complete at least nine credits per academic year and to maintain a cumulative 2.0 GPA after each academic semester, Roberts said.

Roberts said Marbach fell one class short of meeting requirements.

“We try really hard to worry about the things we have control over and forget about the things we can’t control,” Roberts said. “We can’t do anything about it so we’re trying to not lose too much sleep about it. We’re trying to find some opportunity here. It forces other players to step up their game a bit without a player who scores goals like he does.”

Marbach was third on the team in scoring through the first semester with nine goals and 12 assists through 20 games played. He will be deemed eligible to play once again next fall.

-Andrew Parent

Track & field ready to run at Penn State

The men’s and women’s track & field teams will go to Penn State this weekend, competing at the same location for the first time since Jan. 5 at the Rutgers Invitational.

Both the men’s and women’s sides will feature 10 runners in various events over the course of Friday and Saturday. On Friday, running events will commence at 4:45 p.m. while field events will start at 5:45 p.m., with the final event taking place at 9:30 p.m. On Saturday, the meet will run from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

The Owls have about three weeks until the Atlantic 10 Conference Championships get underway on February 16.

Mark McHugh

Zaniewski is second Owl in two weeks to win ECAC Coach’s Choice Award

Junior Heather Zaniewski is the second gymnast in a row to win the
Eastern Collegiate Athetic Conference Coaches’ Choice Award for the Owls. The team captain followed her fellow teammate sophomore Taylor Rakus, who won the award the previous week.

In the team’s meet last Saturday at Pittsburgh, Zaniewski, competing
on the balance beam, smashed her foot during the routine. She was then
consequentially taken out of her next event (vault) because of the

Later, when Temple was in a desperate need for points, coach Aaron
Murphy sent Zaniewski out to compete in her routine on bars.

The team captain went out and nailed her routine on bars without any restraint from her nagging foot injury. She posted a team best score of 9.550 on the apparatus and was awarded with the ECAC coaches’ Choice Award for her performance through the pain.

Looking forward to the Owls’ next meet, Saturday at New Hampshire at 4
p.m., Murphy says that he expects Zaniewski to be in the lineup and
ready to compete.

-Samuel Matthews